Karl Marx's (1818-83) fundamental assertion, in the most simple of terms,was that economic forces determine all events. Marx was always well aware that it was not the working class but the middle class that drove history along its ever-progressing path. Social historians and political scientists have researched all levels of society to find "class consciousness," but it was the entrepreneurial-merchant class that actually carried out the historical task of liberation, modernization, and self-actualization. Marx also suggested that in one very real sense, the middle class was undeniably the protagonist of modern history through the simple, indisputable fact of having developed a higher consciousness of what history had created, established, and codified.
His analysis of capitalist economy and his theories of historical materialism, the class struggle, and the meaning of value evolved as the basis of modern socialist doctrine. Those ideas are of decisive importance with respect to revolutionary action, his theories on the nature of the capitalist state, the road to power, and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Most of those ideas and ideals are captured in one of his most famous works "Das Kapital."
Born in Germany in 1818, Karl was part of a family who had converted from Judaism to Protestantism. At the age of seventeen, he enrolled at the University of Bonn to study law (his father was a lawyer), but his wild behavior of drinking and dueling led his father to transfer him to a more austere environment at the University of Berlin. While there, Marx made the decision to focus his studies in philosophy, and he joined a group of radical students and lecturers known as the "Young Hegelians," who made the assertion that religion was only a human invention that had been created to explain what could not be explained. That...